Author Pik-Shuen Fung talks about trusting creative intuition

an open book

Pik-Shuen Fung, author of Ghost Forest, delivered a reading and a talk during the Canadian Writers in Person Series gathering on Nov. 22.

Cover of Ghost Forest
Cover of Ghost Forest

The recipient of the 2022 Amazon First Novel Award, and of the 2022 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Literary Fiction, Pik-Shuen Fung visited York University for Canadian Writers in Person on Nov. 22 to discuss her first novel, Ghost Forest.

“I really believe in the importance of intuition and trust in the creative process,” said Fung.

Ghost Forest is written as a series of vignettes. It’s not linear or chronological, but linked by something intuitive and emotional. Only after the manuscript was finished did it become clear to the writer why it’s written in vignettes.

“It’s a book about grief, it’s a book about memory, and neither of these are linear experiences. Memory is associative,” said Fung. “Grief is associative. Sometimes something really small like an apple peel can make you think of someone you lost.”

Because it is written as a series of vignettes, Ghost Forest creates a sense of spaciousness and lightness that is unexpected in a book about grief.

“I wasn’t interested in writing a book to say this is what happened to me, or this is inspired by my life. I was more interested in taking my emotional experience and creating an experience for the reader where they could enter the space and bring their own emotions, bring their own memories, draw their own connections. …It was really important to me to have this expansive feeling where there are a lot of things that go unsaid,” said Fung.

Ghost Forest is a novel that invites readers in, to explore their own emotions about loss, family relationships and love.